Now the overall experience is a good one but the
actual museum element is a bit bizarre. Sure it does have the "old
household items such as cooking utensils, sleeping mats, musical instruments,
hunting equipment and fighting gear used in past battles" as advertised but they
are interspersed with modern day bikes that could have been bought last week and
pictures on the wall of people like Justin Bieber. Some items though such as the
wooden bike and older hospital stretcher are definitely worth seeing. Other
showcases though are empty. Its as if they had a great idea and put the museum
together before identifying whether they realistically had enough items to fill
it. That of course could change but additional acquisitions need money and its
fair to say that most Ugandans don't tend to visit museums.
The Great Lakes Museum states "It is
hoped this collection can be developed to complement the range of other
facilities at the museum from traditional dancing and drama, guided walks,
mountain biking, camping and workshops alongside modern eco-friendly cottages
for accommodation, camping facilities, children's playground, conference centre
and a well stocked bar, restaurant and cafe with high speed internet access."
And they state further "the Great Lakes Museum together with the Igongo Cultural
Centre are the two museums within Western Uganda where you can learn all about
the region's rich heritage. Both provide fascinating insights into local and
regional history together with artefacts from the past."
Mm, well it certainly needs to up its game. But and
there is a big but, there are some simply awesome sculptures within the complex
itself created by a local sculptor and they are just breathtaking and make a
visit to the centre worthwhile in its own right. Many of these can be seen in
the slideshow on your left but they really need to be seen in person to fully
Throw in good food at the restaurant and a well
stocked craft shop, friendly and welcoming staff and its a worthy half day out. As with so many Ugandan
tourist attractions there are different rates for entry to the actual museum
section of the site (which is effectively one large room) for locals and foreign
nationals but we're only taking a few £ in total here. If they had put the
outside sculptures inside and thrown most of the inside out it would be
excellent value for money!
The Great Lakes Museum is on a stretch of road in
the middle of no-where however it can be reached within an hour either from
Kabale or Ntungamo for around £25 in a "special" cab or a pound or so by taxicab.
We've passed the museum many times but this is the first time we've actually
visited and glad that we did. Did we mention the free wi-fi? No? Well that's an
haven't yet visited we have heard good reports about the
Home of Edirisa another cultural museum located in Kabale.
It contains a replica traditional homestead showing how the
area's Bakiga people used to live. We'll provide a review
later this year.